Friends and regular readers know that this past week was not one I’ve been looking forward to — and was in fact awaiting with nothing less than dread.
I watched videos all week of Barack and Joe and found myself getting teary.
And every time I saw a picture of Trump mugging and denying and bragging I felt myself getting sick.
But I do know that if there is one outlet for stress that usually helps me out, it’s cooking for others.
So into the kitchen I went.
I made special Sourdough French toast for the kids made with Satsumas, vanilla and cinnamon.
I made raspberries smoothies and homemade granola.
And every day I made something special for myself, too.
One of my favorite treats this week was this lunch– a Green Chili Chicken Tamale plate, fully loaded.
I’ll let you in on a little secret; I’ve never made tamales yet (New Year’s Resolution) but Trader Joe’s has some very good ones in the refrigerated section and while not as spectacular as the ones in some restaurants, they’re hella convenient and so tasty when served alongside your favorite sides.
And with Inauguration Day looming, I decided I needed to up my game.
I made a giant pot of Turmeric Chicken Soup.
I started with a homemade chicken stock. I removed the meat from a half-eaten roast chicken and simmered the carcass in a pot with ginger and garlic for an hour or so and then strained it. I added dal, spices, sweet potato and carrots and cooked it all until tender, adding the reserved shredded chicken in the last ten minutes or so of cooking.
I thought about all the people who could use a bowl of warm liquid sunshine and packed it all up.
I dropped off the soup all over town, and made a point to say howdy to as many familiar faces as I could.
And then it was Inauguration Day.
Knowing how difficult it would be to watch all the ceremonies, I cleaned my house instead, listening to music and then calling a friend who lives far away.
Midday a girlfriend and I then took out a beloved ex-teacher out for a Vietnamese feast at Pho on Sandy.
It was wonderful to get caught up with a teacher I’d enjoyed so much and to treat her to a delicious lunch.
And boy was it good.
I left the lunch to babysit for a neighbor, and then I had a couple hours to hang out with the world’s most wonderful two year old.
It was so fun to partake in a tea party, and read books curled up on the couch, and feel the sweet breath of a lispy little girl on my lap.
I love this family so much and am so grateful that they moved in.
I would have paid them for the privilege of time with their daughter, but they sent me home with a bevy of treats.
I left that gig to go to another really fun event — a Girlfriend Swap Meet.
Okay, maybe there’s another name for it, but that’s what I call it.
Here’s how it works.
This hostess invited a dozen or so women, and everyone was encouraged to bring as little or as many items as you’d like to pass on.
These items can include housewares, clothes, makeup, outerwear, sports stuff, and art supplies.
Everyone was asked to bring a potluck dish to share and any leftover food you’d like to pass along (as long as it’s not expired and you think someone else might want it).
Everyone arrived, put their stuff in its rightful place and mingled a bit.
I brought lots of clothes, purses, and tons of home goods.
Like this pinata I’d bought online for a birthday party but never used.
I also brought scads of mixing bowls (I’ve got far too many) and baking supplies and this little vintage gingham bed tray that wasn’t getting a lot of love in my house (although in person the color was a much cuter limey green gingham).
Also with me was a big batch of Orange Bittersweet Chocolate Brownies to share.
What a fun night — great nibbles, lots of interesting stories from lovely gals, and I came home with a number of things I’m excited about (all at no cost to me).
I found clothes, like this ivory blouse.
I also got three pair of black leggings and a black Banana Republic turtleneck I love (plus a tags-still-on hat from Forever 21 that apparently waited no time to pick up airborne dog hair at my house).
Oliver got a U of O zip-up hoodie and Charlotte a maid-of-honor dress to romp around in.
And I got some new additions for my kitchen and pantry.
I’ve already used these pancake molds, and I had to laugh when I used them, remembering the previous owner telling the crowd about them. Apparently she’d gotten them as a gift over twenty five years ago and since they were never used, she finally decided that now might be time to offer them to someone else.
And that’s the beauty of a swap — you release your good stuff to find new love in a different home and you walk away with new treasures. It’s like a closet and pantry clean out as well as a free shop.
So you can end up with some new useful items as well as things like these chocolates someone left on the free table.
So that was the beauty of my Inauguration Day.
Instead of the expected hand-wringing and fretting, I had a media black out day doing far more important things to me than watching the activities in Washington.
I distributed food, connected with people who mean so much to me, hung out with an adorable toddler, and surrounded myself with creative, generous women who all came away with full bellies and new treasures.
So Despair: 0. Community and Quality Dog Time: 1.
And, my friends, how’d do you fare this week?